Smash­ing pump­kins

Valley Journal Advertiser - - COMMUNITY - BY LAURA CHURCHILL DUKE

On Nov.1, a team from the Town of Kentville and the Kentville Po­lice came to KCA to judge the great pump­kin drop. Each class is asked to fill a box with en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly items to pro­tect the pump­kin from break­ing in its lofty fall. Here, Grade 6 stu­dents Daniel Comiskey, left, Rachel Ve­ley, Matthew Barbour, Daniel Duke and Raina Ger­rard show off their plaque for win­ning best de­sign. “Drop it! Drop it!”

Hun­dreds of KCA stu­dents chanted ex­cit­edly be­low as their pump­kins were dropped from a cherry picker at least 20 feet above the school’s bas­ket­ball court, all in the name of sci­ence.

For the past few years, each class at the Pri­mary to Grade 8 school has been chal­lenged to fill a box with re­cy­clable or or­ganic ma­te­rial to pro­tect their pump­kin from its lofty fall. This year, Mayor San­dra Snow, po­lice chief Ju­lia Cec­chetto, Const. Kevin An­drews and Mark Phillips and Gillian Yorke from the Town of Kentville were on hand to judge the en­tries. Each box was judged based on the dis­tance it landed from the “X marks the spot,” the type of ma­te­rial inside the box and how smashed the pump­kin was after the fall.

The pump­kin drop event was ini­ti­ated by Kentville’s di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing and works, Fred Whynot. Ac­cord­ing to Yorke, with this event, Whynot gets to be more in­volved with the fun side of pub­lic works.

Whynot pro­vides the pump­kins to the school and ar­ranges for At­lantic Ar­borists to come and do­nate their time with their cherry-picker truck to drop the pump­kins in front of the ador­ing crowd.

“We rented a scis­sor lift a cou­ple of times, but the kids had been get­ting pro­gres­sively bet­ter at their de­signs, so we got At­lantic Ar­borists in­volved as they can take the pump­kins much higher,” said Whynot.

The event first be­gan five years ago, he said, and was ini­tially not held at KCA.

“We first tried Cen­tre Square dur­ing the 2013 Har­vest Fest, plan­ning to use the lad­der truck of the fire de­part­ment,” he said. “As fate would have it, they were called to as­sist with a fire or other emer­gency. We moved it to KCA so that more kids could be in­volved and to take ad­van­tage of more space as well.”

That’s when the town started rent­ing the scis­sor lift be­cause it was guar­an­teed to be avail­able, he added.

“Much bet­ter to have our fire de­part­ment con­cen­trate their equip­ment on what they do best,” Whynot added. “Joey Peters and his group from At­lantic Ar­borists Jack Gil­lan, a Grade 7 stu­dent, ac­cepted a plaque on be­half of Mrs. Par­sons’ class for least en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

have re­ally added that ex­tra touch with the height and it is some­thing they do for free and en­joy as well. The Pump­kin Drop is some­thing we wanted to do with the kids to pro­mote sci­ence, Har­vest Fest, team­work and out­door fun -a tra­di­tion we plan to con­tinue.”

This year, the award for “Best Ap­pear­ance” went to Shay/Con­way’s Grade 5 class for their Canada 150 de­pic­tion. The “Least En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact” award went to Mrs. Par­sons’ Grade 7 class for hav­ing stuffed their box with leaves. The “Best De­sign” went to Mr. West’s Grade 6 class as their pop­corn fill­ing pre­vented their pump­kin from smash­ing. This de­sign was an im­prove­ment over last year’s when the same class bent the rules and used a gourd in­stead of a pump­kin.

To end the morn­ing, At­lantic Ar­borists dropped whole pump­kins onto the bas­ket­ball court, much to the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the stu­dents, who find the more smashed up the pump­kins, the bet­ter.

“It’s such a fun morn­ing, and the kids and teach­ers both love it,” said one teacher. “They take it so se­ri­ously.”

Laura cHurcHill duKe

Laura cHurcHill duKe

Const. Kevin An­drews shows off the dam­age to one of the pump­kins.

Laura cHurcHill duKe

Grade 5 stu­dents Ai­dan Ma­cLean, left, and Nolan King ac­cept a plaque from Kentville Mayor San­dra Snow on be­half of the Shay/Con­way class, which won for best ap­pear­ance.

Laura cHurcHill duKe

One of the pump­kin pack­ages in mid-air.

Laura cHurcHill duKe

Mayor San­dra Snow hands a pump­kin to a worker from At­lantic Ar­borists. At the end of the pump­kin drop, whole pump­kins were dropped, much to the de­light of the stu­dents.

Laura cHurcHill duKe

At­lantic Ar­borists donates their time and a cherry picker truck to the an­nual event.

Laura cHurcHill duKe

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